Essential Service Workers Stand in Solidarity During Time of Crisis
Many workers in the airline industry have unfortunately been sidelined by the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the members of Teamsters Local 2750 have never been busier – as cargo pilots for Atlas Air Worldwide, they are some of the most essential workers in the global supply chain. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., the company agreed to supply them with personal protective equipment (PPE). The pilots, however, had another idea.
“Since mid-January we have been advocating and pushing the company to supply all flight crewmembers and ground personnel with PPE and other safety items,” said Local 2750 Trustee Bob Kirchner. “We received N95 masks from the company, but together we decided to donate them to nurses, doctors, and other frontline responders working in the hospitals throughout New York City. We all have a critical role to play when it comes to saving lives, and we know that if those of us at Local 2750 were in desperate need of something and they could help, they would do it in a heartbeat.”
The crewmembers have been resupplied with masks made of cloth and other material. The mask donation isn’t the only thing Local 2750 pilots have been doing to help save lives during the pandemic – they have been tapped by FEMA to expedite coronavirus relief supplies to areas of urgent need. To that end, the pilots delivered a cache of desperately-needed supplies to JFK Airport on March 29 – over 12 million pieces of PPE, including 130,000 N-95 masks. True to form as professionals who perform well under pressure, the shipment arrived three days ahead of schedule. It’s not just the hard-hit tri-state area that Local 2750 members are servicing – On April 2, Atlas Air operated a charter that carried 65 tons of PPE for medical teams in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“In the middle of the worst pandemic in over 100 years, pilots and other workers in the aviation industry on the frontlines of this crisis are saving lives by the thousands and it’s made me proud to be a Teamster,” said Capt. David Bourne, Director of the Teamsters Airline Division. “The pilots of Local 2750 are some of the many essential service workers who are the hidden heroes behind the scenes of the COVID-19 response, and I’m honored to represent them.”